It was August 2016 when I came to a pretty large realization. You know the ones. You're just doing your thing and *boom* knowledge!
My hubs and I were on our way to dinner with some friends to a pretty fancy restaurant when I started to piece together a string of behaviors I had been observing in myself the moment August started drawing to a close. I instantly stopped working out, started eating more, wanted to cuddle up and sleep a lot, and I was unequivicolly fine with all of that. Seriously, I went from working out for 9 months, planning my meals, meal prepping every Sunday, to doing the total opposite of all of it...and I was happy about it. But why?
Fall. Also known as "pumpkin spice" to the lovers and the haters. That time of year when we love to stare at dying trees, wear blankets as clothing, and the colors burgundy and mustard yellow feel like a good idea and not like condiments. The world does some pretty neat things this time of year, including awaken some deeply ingrained instincts. I see this as my personal invitation to embrace my self-proclaimed spirit animal: the bear.
Let me just say I am not a qualified spirit animal namer. Shocking, I know. It took about 28 years for me to piece together all of these random opposite behaviors that each fall brought out of me. Quite honestly, when I first toyed with the idea that deep down I was a bear in some life, I was pumped to accept the fact that my inner beast was just doing it's fall thing. Eat the food. Have a sleep. Be a dichotomy of adorable and terrifying. Done!
This year, as my spirit animal began to wake up and take over, I couldn't help but be totally thrilled about it. I mean, how cool is it to be connected to a bad ass animal throughout the majority of your life? However, as weeks started to pass, I noticed this was more than an excuse in self-indulgence and that these feelings were teaching me some big things about acceptance, consistency, and trust. Of course it couldn't just be simple and fun?! There always has to be a bigger thing happening, which is beautiful and annoying at the same time, but whatever, I'm going with it.
We connect with certain things in life for a reason and I've been connecting with bears for a long time now. I'm beginning to realize it's because those 3 things are components of my life that are currently weak. Our symbols, our guidance, our metaphors for ourselves can be powerful tools to help us wander through our time in this world. We can use them to take on the challenges that are deep down within us that we don't want to reveal to the those around us, and that's okay. They can give us some major strength in realizing our power. My spirit animal, my metaphor, my symbol is teaching me that consistency isn't always a good thing. That shifts are necessary in order to grow and hold onto the feeling of content. My self-proclaimed spirit animal is teaching me to accept what brings me happiness in this moment, even if that happiness didn't match up a month or two or six prior. It's teaching me to trust my instincts and what I'm naturally drawn to do. Those are some pretty big things for a bear to take on. But it's fall, the pumpkin spice has formed a dusting on everything, and I'm all about the preparation for what's to come, whether that's hibernation or something else that requires a little more work. Probably the latter.